Young people on the autism spectrum are still learning how to steer their ship. When they aren’t able to accomplish a task, they resort to coping in the most accessible way — a temper tantrum. Frustration is an unavoidable part of life. The process of learning how the world around us works can be frustrating in itself. Teens naturally want a sense of independence and control over their environment. Sometimes this can prove to be overwhelming. It also may be beyond their handling capabilities.
When teens realize that they cannot have all the power they want or other things that they desire, this creates a power struggle between you and them. It also presents itself as the opportune time to break out in a temper tantrum. Avoid tantrums at all costs is always the best piece of advice. There are preventative measures you can follow to keep your teen free from tantrum temptation, but these measures will vary based off of your child’s individual triggers. But what happens when you have already reached the boiling point? Can you hear me over the loud screaming and shouting?
Taking Tantrums to the Trash
Here are some tips for managing the meltdowns:
“Planned ignoring”. Withhold attention. This may seem like an ineffective way to deal with tantrums but when you think about the possible reasons the behavior occurs, it can work. This tactic requires parents to continue as if nothing is wrong. Give the child no feedback for the behavior. The approach may require several trials before it takes effect. Keep in mind that you are ignoring the behavior, not the child.
Stay calm and consistent. It can seem impossible when your child is having an outrageous outburst, but remember over reactiveness on your part can fuel the fire.
Keep the surroundings safe. Ensure that your child is not equipped to harm himself, others or property.
Redirect the rage. Once you feel the storm brewing, immediately redirect the child’s attention away from the trigger. Familiar objects can be helpful to redirect attention. Some children may have sensory issues that need to be met. Choose a favorite object and allow the child to engage with that object in stressful situations.
Come with meaningful consequences. This teaches your child that their behavior will not result in getting their way. Sometimes this means letting a tantrum run its course. I know, this can be painfully embarrassing in public places but giving in to your child’s demands can make them think this is acceptable behavior.
Focus on distinguishing the fire. This is really challenging sometimes. When the eyes of strangers are locked on your current situation, you can become consumed in what they may be thinking. But you should know, what is running through their heads isn’t going to help you address the situation at hand.
Seven Stars can help
Seven Stars is a residential treatment center for adolescents ages 13-17. The program provides treatment for young boys and girls struggling with neurodevelopmental disorders. Individualized treatment plans are designed to address the unique needs of students. Academics, physical activities and performing normal teenage responsibilities are emphasized at Seven Stars. The program provides a supportive and healthy community that gives students a real-life perspective while incorporating therapeutic elements to help them learn how to better self-navigate. This program gives young people the opportunity to improve their self-confidence, self-awareness, and gain the skills they need to lead happy and healthy lives. Let us help your family today!
Contact us at 844-601-1167
Since 2003, Dr. Gordon Day has passionately helped young people with a wide range of family, emotional, social, neurodevelopmental and behavioral problems. Gordon’s mission has been to help people find their strengths and their own passion for living a full and rewarding life. He is particularly sensitive to the pressures, frustrations and disappointments that adolescents face that can sometimes cause them and their loved ones to want to withdraw and throw their hands up in despair.
Dr. Day knows that you really have to understand where a student is coming from and understand their patterns of strengths and needs. When we truly know an individual and their struggles, only then can we truly help.
Dr. Day has pioneered the use of outdoor therapy activities and outdoor living as a dynamic and effective therapeutic tool for learning, confidence building and skill building. His programs provide effective, supportive and encouraging environments that help students find their strengths and power.